Kickstarter Preview: Omen: A Reign of War

Designer: John Clowdus

Art: John Ariosa, Justin Hernandez, Michael Ng, Sandro Rybak

Publisher: Koloassal Games, Small Box Games

Plays: 30 min

Player count: 2 player only

A copy of Omen Reign of War was provided by Kolossal Games for this preview. I would like to thank them for their continued support of my blog. I truly appreciate it. Everything you see here is in prototype form, but yeesh it looks good already. Shout out goes to print & play that put out some sick prototypes.

Important to note:

Kolossal will be re-releasing all previous Omen products (Reign of War and Edge of Aegean). In addition, we will be releasing Tales of the Ancients and Fires in the East (the latter of which is a standalone like Reign and Edge). – As stated by the publisher

If you want to know “What’s Cool about Omen: A Reign of War?”, scroll down to the video about half way down.

Kickstarter Preview: Omen: A Reign of War

The Greek Mythology is honestly an over saturated theme with good reason, it’s really cool. As a child, I was a huge fan of the original Clash of the Titans film and it immediately made me fall in love with Greek Mythology. Over the years, some of the games I’ve played and movies I’ve seen totally miss the feeling of power and epicness they have to draw inspiration from. That’s not the case with this game. Omen: A Reign of War is a card game that gives both players the power of Half-Gods and it’s up to you to play like one. Which one of you will prove yourself worthy to the Gods in a display of dominance and destruction?

What is Omen: A Reign of War?

Both players are Half-God children of Zeus, battling for the right to rule over man. The gameplay is entirely card based and relies heavily on hand management, area influence, and resource management. Players will use cards to destroy their opponents units, battle over cities, and make offerings to the Gods. The end game is triggered when five of the six Feat cards are completed or two of the three city stacks are depleted. The player with the most points wins. There’s a lot going on in this game and the action starts on the very first turn. Omen: A Reign of War is not a cutesy game, it’s about strategy, deception, and dominance!

 

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Gameplay

The acting player for the round will take all of the six phases during their turn and then their opponent will follow. Both players get to see each other’s whole strategy laid out, plan accordingly, and then have full turn to respond on their turn. I like how the strategy unfolds through card play. One turn, One card, one coin, cannot be wasted if you want to be successful. The six phases on a turn as follow:

Wealth Step: This is the opportunity to gather as many resources and unit forces (Character cards) as possible before moving into the more action heavy gameplay. You have a choice to do a combination of 3 Wealth actions. You may take a mix of cards of coins equal to a total of 3 (1 coin + 2 card) or take all three of the same type (3 cards or coins). If you decided to take all of one type your receive a fourth (3 cards + 1 bonus card).

Surge Step: This phase is the meat of the gameplay and will determine your sure victory or swift defeat. Player’s will pay coins to play cards from their hands and place them in one of the cities. Once a card is Deployed to a city, their abilities active. Each city has a capacity of five units. Each card type represents one unit and Beast cards are worth two units because they are Colossal beings. The amount of units present in each city determines when the battle for a war-torn city happens. Take a look at the card types available in the game.

  • Soldiers: Soldier cards are combat driven and have the high combat strength. Their abilities usually affect the city they are in. Since the soldier is worth one unit, stacking their combat strength will make winning cities an easier task.
  • Oracles: They are only activated during the Portent Step and they have two abilities. The first is a normal Deploy action, but Oracles have an additional action that’s triggered by drawing one card off the shared deck. If the card ends up being another Oracle, then another effect takes place and provide extra cards and coins.
  • Beasts: These Colossal beings do exactly what they are intended to do, dominate space and crush cities. Beast represent two units and you can only have one occupy each city. They also have a Dirge ability, which you have the option of paying coins to active the card from your hand. Put it to ya like this, it’s going to hurt when a Dirge ability come into play.
  • Heroes and Spirits: I assume both of these card types were part of the previously game and probably from an expansion. I assume this because they feel so different than the other cards. Spirit cards can have a devastating impact on all cities at once and strip cards from your opponent’s hand. Heroes cost nothing to play, but they have high strength and give you victory points if you have one or more with a Treasured ability in your hand at the end of the game. You don’t have to pay with these cards in the deck at all and the fun won’t stop if you anyways.

 

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Portent Step: I kind of spoke about what this step is in the Oracle description, but during my first couple plays I felt like Oracles were too powerful. Since you can activate Oracles in any order you choose, you might be lucky enough to flip over Oracle cards to triggerextra card, stealing coins, and all kinds of dirty effects. After a couple plays, you realize the importance of eliminating Oracles as fast as possible so it all works out.

Feat Step: One of the ways to trigger the end game is to complete five of the six Feat Cards. Feat cards might seem like the easier of the two ways to win the game, but you don’t want to give city tiles away to your opponent. They are two powerful and have the same value point value.

 

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War Step: The active player will determine if each city is war-torn based on a couple conditions. If the city is war-torn, the peaceful token gets flipped over to the war-torn side. The conditions are as follow:

  • You opponent has a total of three units on their side of one city.
  • Both of you have combined total of five units.

The winner of the battle is determined by who has the most strength. The loser must discard down to two units and the winner has to reduce their units down to one. The winner also received a city tile, which is the real prize of victory. City tiles have two benefits, they give two VP’s and a crazy power on the opposite side to use on future turns. The winning player must discard down to one unit, leaving an advantage for the losing player moving forward. Remember the game is over when two stacks are depleted. I’ll cover this in more detail on the video below.

 

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Offering Step: All cards have an offering value. You may offer one of your cards to the Gods and in return take cards or coins equal to the card value. For example a card with a value of four could be offered for two coins and two cards.

After all six steps are taken, make sure one of the end game conditions are not completed. Players have a five card hand limit and ten coin money limit. The opposing player will play their turn in the same fashion and play will continue until the end game conditions are met. Prepare yourself for fierce and intense 30 minutes.

Game End

If one of the game end conditions are met both players will add all the points from their city tiles (2VP), completed Feat cards (2VP), and Treasure cards in your hand. Couple small details:

  • City tiles that are flipped over are worth one point
  • Hero units that are in your have with the Treasured label are worth a point each

What’s So Cool About Omen: A Reign of War?

 

Why Should I Back Omen: A Reign of War?

  • The replay value in the base game is absolutely ridiculous.
  • The card play is heavily thematic and rewarding
  • The art is absolutely amazing and it’s still in prototype form
  • Very strategic and customizable (you can remove the spirits and heroes or add expansions in the base game)
  • Almost perfect two player experience

Cause for Concern?

  • Two player restricted count
  • You’ll probably get crushed the first couple times you plays, because it’s easy to not understand strategy
  • Might be a little too heavy for casual gamers to get into

Final Impressions

I’m really gushing all over this game because it deserves it. I’m kind of lucky that my gaming knowledge doesn’t really predate 2013. Some of the reprints/reworks that are coming to light are blowing me away. You can tell Kolossal Games didn’t take a lazy approach to bringing this game back to the spotlight. As a potential backer being exposed to the Omen for the first time, I get to experience the new game feel previous owners had back in 2011. This game is EPIC and I feel like a God when I play it. Every choice you make with with your hand, city tiles, and money feels important. You don’t want to waste a turn in this game because you’re leave an opening for your opponent to rack up city tiles and complete feats. I love the high stakes gameplay.I think one downside to the game and sometimes it can get a little one sided. Why? Experience will win out most of the time, so I would suggest first time players play twice in a row or take out expansion cards. It’s not a light game and I appreciate a game that expects players to make more efficient choices. Simply put, Omen: A Reign of War is a damn good game. Gamers that are looking for a two player experience with heavy strategic card play, will enjoy this game.  The first run and all of the expansion received rave reviews back in 2011 and I now I know why. I’ll let you decide what to do with your money, but I’m definitely backing this game. I want Omen: A Reign of War in my collection.

If you have any comments or questions about the game, please ask. I hope this preview was informative. You can click on the link to head over to the Kickstarter page. Back responsibly.

Omen: A Reign of War Kickstarter Link

 

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